How to Avoid Common Field Hockey Injuries
Field hockey is a dynamic sport that involves non-stop action and extremely physical play, making minor injuries somewhat inevitable. Bumps and bruises may be hard to avoid, but you can avoid the type of injuries that can leave you on the sidelines. Understanding the injuries that are common to the sport is an important part of avoiding serious injuries. The most common field hockey injuries are:
- Knee injuries (ACL and cartilage damage)
- Ankle sprains
- Shin splints
- Hamstring strain
- Groin pull
While these are common injuries for those who play the sport, they can be avoided with proper training, equipment, and techniques. The effort you make before getting on the field to play can determine how well you play and how long you can play without injury or pain. Taking proper care of your body and learning how to perform activities on the field correctly are crucial if you want to stay competitive and continue to play.
If you play on a team, you have probably heard this pretty often, but it’s worth emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive warm-up. Warming up properly before play increases the blood flow to your muscles and joints, allowing them to perform optimally and increasing flexibility and range of motion. Warming up also gives you a chance to focus mentally on what you’re doing and prepare for the movements you’ll need on the field.
Consider a training program that includes activities off the field. Training in the weight room or on the track helps to build muscles and encourages proper use of your body, leaving you stronger and better balanced for play. Physical therapy can also be a useful element of a great training program because PT helps you correct any bad habits you may have. A physical therapist can also help you create a program that allows you to build strength and flexibility gradually, which prevents injury from overuse or improper form.
Listen to Your Body
Athletes tend to be competitive individuals, and it can be tempting to “play through the pain” or push yourself past your limits to reach that next level. In reality, it’s important to pay attention to pain and be aware of when you need a break. Playing in pain could do more damage than taking a break and consulting with a physical therapist or orthopedist before proceeding. Pain can be an early sign of instability that can lead to falls and injuries, or it could be a sign that you are performing an activity incorrectly and contributing to overuse injuries.
Proper preparation and training are essential if you want to play at your best and play as long as possible. Even if you have no pain, you can improve your game by improving your form and technique. Whether you are recovering from an injury or merely hoping to avoid one in the future, we can help you to “Move Better” and play at your highest level! Call us today at (434) 817-0980.